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Police urge holiday safety

By Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:37 PM

Though the holiday season can seem like one of the happiest times of the year for people, it also can bring unwanted crime.

Just in time for the holidays, Lebanon Police are urging holiday safety tips to help make the holidays safer and happier.

First, always be aware of surroundings and the people around you, as busy people can become vulnerable to theft and other crime.

Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said police would be in full force over the holiday season and they were even planning on moving shifts around and adding additional people to keep the public as safe as possible.

“The biggest thing is the safety of our shoppers, especially at such a busy time around the holidays,” Bowen said. “We’ll move shifts around to pay extra attention to shopping malls and shopping areas.”

Cars and parking lots can be a hot place for crime to occur. Be sure to lock your car and close all windows, no matter the length of time you expect to be away from your car. Make sure to never leave your keys in your car or leave your car running unoccupied. Be sure to lock all packages and valuables in the trunk and out of sight, if possible. 

Bowen said this holiday season the police department would be working with public safety and is set to have a camera trailer in different parking lots to cut down on parking lot crime.

At night, police said to be sure to try to park near streetlights if possible, have your keys in your hands when returning to your car and check inside your car before getting in.

When shopping, police said to avoid overloading yourself with packages because it is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion. Take caution if approached by a stranger, as con artists may try numerous methods of distracting you with the intent to take your money and belongings.

When possible, have mall security or police escort you to your car.

Also, try not to carry large amounts of cash, but use checks or credit cards if possible to pay for purchases. If a credit card is to get lost or stolen, be sure to notify your credit card company immediately.

It is important to keep belongings, such as a purse or purchases, in your hold at all times. Avoid setting items down or on top of a car in order to open the doors.

While at home, police said to be sure to always lock doors behind you and give the impression that your home is occupied by leaving lights and a radio or television on to warn away possible intruders.

If you plan on being away from your home or out of town over the holidays, do not hesitate to notify neighbors or police.

“Most people are opportunists, so if people will follow some of these safety tips suggested it will really help out and cut down on the chances of being a victim,” Bowen said. 

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